What drew me to this book? I wanted to try an author that was new to me, the cover made me smile despite its cheesy nature and I was curious to see how the blurb translated to the story.
Author: Andy Dunn
Publisher: Musa Publishing
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
Callum should have come out years ago, but getting married seemed like a better idea. When his coworker Brian begins to flirt with him, Callum starts to question his earlier decision. Shortly after his divorce, Callum and Brian begin dating. Nothing serious. Just a laugh and a pint or three down at the pub.
Even though he’s uncertain how strong his feelings are for Callum, Brian encourages him to see other guys. This backfires in a rather unexpected way: Callum meets his second boyfriend Simon. Simon might just be a better suitor – he’s a bit more romantic and a lot less brash than Brian.
Starting out, the writing was on the clunky side, with bits of clever fun sprinkled about. It read almost like the author was holding back, hesitant, couldn’t quite truly let go, so more and more words were used in the attempt to get to the heart of it all. Stricter, more demanding editing may have aided in avoiding the repetitious passages that reflect this difficulty. This was especially evident in all of the office scenes, interactions between Brian and Callum (our first “pairing”) and Callum and Simon (our second “pairing”). It was a bit like Groundhog Day. Remove some of those and you almost immediately have a tighter story with the potential for greater impact. I will say, though, that this writer has a definite point of view, particularly by way of Callum and his emergence from the closet. This I can and do appreciate.
The co-star to the above issue is that of extended scenes of nothing but dialogue, a lot of it done without identifiers as to who was speaking or descriptors to indicate the tone of the conversations. This made it difficult to keep track of who was saying what and how it all should be interpreted and took me out of the story. Were they excited? Speaking in low tones? Gasping? Tired?
Callum is sweet, uncertain, tries to be thoughtful and is definitely going through a metamorphosis.
Brian is smart, snarky, mostly understanding and knows how to play office politics.
Simon isn’t introduced until later in the story so we don’t get to know much about him but he is kind and sweet to Callum. He seems honest in his reactions and interested in Callum.
There is a female colleague as a supporting character who is nosey, to say the least, and I have no issue with an objectionable character, not in the slightest. I do object to some of the ways the men in the office speak of her, namely calling her a cow. I won’t spend any more time on that.
This is written in a version of third person but then there are internal thoughts in italics, as well. This doesn’t have to be so bad itself and I’ve experienced this working in some stories. The problem comes when what’s just happened is directly contradicted by one of those internal thoughts by one of the characters, most notably Callum.
There are some random sparks, Brian and Callum I think do feel some things for each other. There are some sweet moments and I tried to latch onto these in trying to get to know these two, and not just by everything I was told through all of that dialogue. This same dialogue tended to waver into the overly dramatic side of things and left me tilting my head sometimes, wondering, “now, where did that come from?”
This was romantic (sort of), with some comedy (sort of), and included subjects like coming out (highly worthy), not so great past experiences (important to explore), various family reactions and a very mild case of sewing ye ole wild oats. I say mildly because this book is a very chastely written story. Except for a few appearances by words like “cock”, there is nothing really heavily sexual that happens in this story. A lot of handholding, hand kissing, temple kissing and forehead kissing. This does make reading this book a unique experience, and not necessarily a bad thing if this is the kind of story you like to read.
There is a story here but it’s gotten lost amidst the vast field of words. Almost like swimming against the tide, it felt like a losing battle. With stronger editing, less repetition, more attention paid to cluing the audience in during conversations and cleaning up the inconsistencies, we would probably have a very nice coming out story that involves a man in his 30s, meeting men his age and older who genuinely like him and are respectful of his experience. A very cool story to tell, indeed.
I would like to thank Musa Publishing for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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